Name, Rank and Serial Number
Captain Ed notes that Iran has blatantly announced it is going to violate the Geneva Conventions, but no one in the press or the human rights community seems to notice.
Iran announced tonight that the 15 British sailors captured off the coast of Iraq would get indicted as spies. ... Referring to them as “insurgents”, the site concluded: “If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offences.”
But as Captain Ed points out, you can't charge uniformed men on a patrol boat with espionage.
The Iranians cannot try the men for espionage if they captured the sailors in uniform. Article 46 of the Geneva Convention states this clearly:
2. A member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict who, on behalf of that Party and in territory controlled by an adverse Party, gathers or attempts to gather information shall not be considered as engaging in espionage if, while so acting, he is in the uniform of his armed forces.
By gum, even the Nazis knew that, which is why they landed spies and saboteurs on American beaches in uniform.
Burger, Dasch, Heinck and Quirin traveled from occupied France by submarine to Long Island, New York, landing in the hours of darkness, on or about June 13, 1942. The remaining four boarded another German submarine, which carried them down the Atlantic coast to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. On or about June 17, 1942, they came ashore during the hours of darkness. All eight wore full or partial German uniforms, to ensure treatment as prisoners of war should they be captured on landing.
Captain Ed asks, "The indictment of British sailors in uniform as spies will violate the GC. Can we expect the same level of outrage over this explicit violation as the supposed violations of the US government?"
No of course not. As currently interpreted the Geneva Conventions only apply to individuals bent on destroying America. Individuals who blow up elementary schools, kidnap children, attack churches and mosques, kill invalids in wheelchairs, plan attacks on skyscrapers in New York, behead journalists, detonate car bombs with children to camouflage their crime, or board jetliners with explosive shoes -- all while wearing mufti or even women's clothing -- these are all considered "freedom fighters" of the most principled kind. They and they alone enjoy the protections of the Geneva Convention. As to Americans like Tucker and Menchaca or Israeli Gilad Shalit -- or these fifteen British sailors for that matter, it is a case of "what Geneva Convention?" We don't need no steenkin' Geneva Convention to try these guys as spies. That's the way the Human Rights racket works. Don't go looking for any Geneva Convention in Somalia, Darfur, Basilan or Iran. Try Guantanamo Bay.